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UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Alves - Idiot's Guide Preview to KJ Noons vs. Alex Oliveira

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David Castillo breaks down the three things you need to know for a welterweight matchup that may not deserve its status, but will deserve our attention once both men start swinging.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Another matchup that belongs on the superior undercard nonetheless should thrill us this May 30, 2015 at the Goiânia Arena in Goiânia, Brazil.

The Match Up

Welterweight KJ Noons 13-7 vs. Alex Oliveira 10-2

The Odds

Welterweight KJ Noons +110 vs. Alex Oliveira -130

3 Things You Should Know

1. Noons is not who he once was, which was never very much to begin.

I've always liked Noons as a fighter, but his status has always been overblown. He's like Remigijus Morkevičius but with at least one big win. Beating Nick Diaz earned him a credibility he was never capable of sustaining. He's on a decent winning streak, with wins over George Sotiropoulas and Sam Stout, but both men are well past their expiration dates. Noons is very good at one thing, and he's often able to force fighters to fight him on his own terms, but he's declining at the same time he's moving up in weight, and I just don't see his game being suited for Welterweight, even if it's suited for this matchup.

2. Oliveira is better than his UFC debut loss indicates so don't be shocked if he puts on a show.

Oliviera has spent a lot of time with Tata Fight Team and ATS. He's beaten some decent competition on the Brazilian circuit with names like Fabio Lima Ferreira and Joilton "The Peregrino" Santos. He's coming off a loss to Gilbert Burns, who is one of the more highly touted prospects in MMA, so there's zero shame there. But this is a matchup that both suits him and doesn't suit him.

3. While it's a close fight, the outcome will be definitive, and potentially one sided.

For me, the problem with Noons is durability. I just don't know how much he has left before he turns into Sam Stout. However, he's still dangerous. While his actual boxing experience is overblown like these things usually are (think Lil Nog's Pan Am experience), it's obvious he's a student of the game. He's dangerous in close, especially with his left hook, and he really winds up with his punches, generating as much power as he can. It can make him a little predictable, but that doesn't make any less dangerous for fighters prone to mistakes.

In addition, Noons is able to tease out those mistakes with his kicks. Unfortunately, that's pretty much it. He has solid takedown defense, but the fact that he can be had on the feet while displaying nothing in the way of offense elsewhere is what makes him so flawed. Oliveira is too. His grappling doesn't exist on any relevant level except as a defense mechanism. But he's an excellent athlete with great movement on the feet. He makes excellent use of his feinting, tilting his body in all the ways that make striking with him a chore. His punches pack some mustard, but it's his ability to strike moving forward or on his backfoot that sets his striking apart. In addition, his kicks are highly active, and he uses front and roundhouse kicks alike to establish and maintain distance.

I wouldn't be shocked to see Noons land a big shot, but I think it's more likely that Oliveira wins on points. Noons has lost enough over the years that his durability is no longer an asset.

Prediction

Alex Oliveira by Decision.